How to Maintain Top-Notch Customer Service While Your Company Rapidly Grows
In a world where your competitors are only a click away, customer service is becoming more important than ever before. If a client isn’t satisfied with your bedside manner, he could be entering his credit card details on someone else’s site within minutes.
When your startup is growing rapidly, it’s challenging to ensure your customer service skills keep pace with your expanding operation. Failing to do so, however, could really hurt your bottom line. According to a 2010 study, 85 percent of shoppers say they’re willing to spend more with companies that they believe provide excellent customer service.
I know firsthand how hard this can be for entrepreneurs. Rapid stages of growth are exciting and addicting. It’s awfully tempting to devote all your energy to acquiring more clients and pushing more contracts. But when you do that, you’re neglecting the heart and soul of your company: your ability to serve your existing clients.
More Supply Means More Demands
As my company’s client base grew and we began offering more products and services, the number of calls, emails, and messages we received every day increased immensely. We were short-staffed and unprepared for this, so we found ourselves putting people on hold for too long and not responding to emails in a timely fashion.
This didn’t make our clients very happy, so we quickly hired additional team members. But we soon learned that just bringing in bodies wasn’t enough. We had to give them the right tools to succeed.
That meant providing adequate training to our new hires. They needed to know the ins and outs of every product and service we offered before we turned them loose. Then, we had to make a significant investment in a cloud-based customer relationship management software to better track our larger-than-ever number of orders — while also having the ability to provide updates and check inventory in a matter of seconds.
Hiring, training, and upgrading our infrastructure were the three key steps my company took when revamping our customer service abilities — but there was also a cultural change that needed to happen.
Instilling a Customer Service Culture
Successful, growing companies need to be customer-centric from top to bottom. If you — the leader — show that your customers are at the heart of every decision you make, the rest of your company will follow suit.
Here are three steps you can take to create this culture:
- Remove the departmental view. Customer service should no longer be viewed as an island within your company. Everyone in your organization should be trained in customer service and feel comfortable emailing, calling, or contacting clients on a regular basis. Over the years, Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos has instilled this culture by sending thousands of managers and employees (including himself) to spend two days working in the company’s call center.
- Stress the importance of each and every customer. One study shows that 71 percent of all Twitter complaints are left unaddressed by companies. You can really stand out by being the business known for its quick replies. Even when you’re understaffed and struggling to keep up with the number of messages you’re receiving, never flat-out ignore customers. If you can’t resolve an issue immediately, at least let the customer know you’re taking steps toward finding a solution.
- Use tech to respond quickly. In our world of immediacy, there’s nothing more frustrating for customers than waiting — whether that means waiting on hold, waiting for an email reply, or waiting for a Facebook post. A2012 study found that nearly one-third of customers expect companies to respond to social media gripes within 30 minutes. It’s crucial to devote enough employees to this task, but you’ll also need to give them the right tech tools — like a great CRM software or a new phone system.
Scaling customer service as your company blossoms is never going to be a perfect science. There will be hiccups, and you’ll still have the occasional upset customer. But through companywide dedication to each and every client and an investment in the right tools, your customer service doesn’t have to lag behind as your company soars to stardom.
Originally from Turkey, Zeynep Ilgaz and her husband co-founded Confirm Biosciences and TestCountry, where Ilgaz serves as president. Confirm Biosciences is committed to being on the cutting edge of offering new, service-oriented drug-testing technologies and was recognized as one of San Diego’s Best Places to Work in 2013 and 2014.
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CEO & Founder
Originally from Turkey, Zeynep Ilgaz (http://ideamensch.com/zeynep-ilgaz/) and her husband immigrated to the United States with two suitcases, their love for each other, and a desire for entrepreneurship. They co-founded Confirm BioSciences (http://www.confirmbiosciences.com/) and TestCountry (http://www.testcountry.com/) in San Diego, and Ilgaz serves as president of both. Confirm BioSciences offers service-oriented testing technologies for drugs of abuse and health. Continue Reading
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